RAWA Bill Faces Increased Opposition

Although the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, which is thought to have been created by Sheldon Adelson, has been introduced into the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, it has faced increased opposition from conservative politicians. New York Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (l.) recently wrote a scathing op-ed on the bill citing all of the issues with it.

J. Gary Pretlow, the New York Assemblyman who introduced a bill that would have legalized online poker in 2014, didn’t reintroduce the bill in 2015, but that doesn’t mean his feelings on the matter have changed. Pretlow recently authored an op-ed in Roll Call which he expressed his opposition to the federal attempts at banning online gambling, and cited the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).

The bill, which was introduced into the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, is thought by many to have been written by Sheldon Adelson, who has consistently cited his opposition to online gambling. Pretlow said, “New York, and every state, deserves to be able to determine what gaming exists within its borders and how it is regulated.”

Pretlow mentioned a few reasons why online gambling should be legal, the first being increased tax revenue for states. His second reason revolves around consumer protection. With increased technology that has seen successful in consumer verification, which was confirmed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Pretlow said, “Were RAWA to pass, we’d have no such technology to help keep vulnerable consumers safe.”

Pretlow went on to say the favoring of legalization would allow for the crackdown on illegal operators. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement with the Department of Justice, have worked together to threaten such online operators.

He also feels that if passed, RAWA would accomplish the opposite of what it has set out to do, and open the doors for vulnerable consumers to join illegally-operating, predatory sites.

Much of the conservative opposition to the bill comes from Tenth Amendment arguments, saying it would essentially give the government too much control on the issue, and over the internet. Senator Rand Paul said he is “opposed to restrictions on online gambling. The government needs to stay out of that business.”

Other conservative representatives Ted Poe and Joe Barton also oppose the bill. In 2013, Barton himself introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 to Congress.